Racism In Schools

25 May 2023

How is it being dealt with? Is it enough? And are schools lying to us?

Recently a survey has shown that 95% of children have experienced some form of racism and 70% said that they feel uncomfortable wearing an afro to school! So we decided to Interview secondary school children to get their view on the situation, as well as question the headmaster on what the protocols are for dealing with racism and his views on the situation! We will be comparing the experiences of a teacher in their old school to nowadays to truly see how much has really changed and whether schools are being honest about the hate in their classrooms and on the playground! 

We interviewed the headmaster to see his views on the situation. We asked him how he deals with racism and whether he thinks kids today are dealing with the same hate from his day. When asked how severe punishments are and how kids are dealt with, he responded ” How we deal with racism in schools is 99% educational.” He believes schools have a duty to educate students who might not know that what they are doing is racist. However, when school children are asked whether enough is being done, the shocking truth is revealed. Dhilan D, a year 8 student at The Beacon School, states that “The teachers aren’t aware of it” and Jacob S-S says when racist students are confronted all that is said is “They say it’s banter”. When the headmaster was asked how prevalent hate was at the school, he replied with “Its rare”, a stark contrast with the 95% of coloured students reporting that they experienced hate. Moreover Jacob S-S sadly said ” Because I was different… I was physically beat.” He said the bullying only stopped after his parents went in and argued for some time to the Head of Year, and even then the student was only forced to apologise! 

We also wanted to get a view on what racism was like 40 years ago when teacher Mrs. Kaler was a child to really see how much it has changed. Back when Mrs. Kaler was a kid she was at school in London, which was very diverse and she felt very included. However when she moved to Doctor Challoner’s Grammar School, in Amersham, Buckinghamshire. She shockingly stated that she was the only different race person in the entire school. “Every single child was white, except me.” Mrs. Kaler also mentioned that “it was very very strange” and that she didn’t have any friends as everyone thought of her as a different person from everyone else. “I didn’t have friends… I was quite lonely and quite miserable” because all the children ignored her and didn’t want to play with someone who was different to everyone else. “You’d just look around and think what’s going on” . She even said “in the school photo.. You could pick me out easily… That was unsettling.”. She felt that racism “wasn’t being dealt with” and that the teacher ignored her, she even stated that “nobody ever asked me if I was okay” and that if they had perhaps she would have been much happier!

Students also report feeling unsafe telling teachers or asking for help, in fear of being further bullied and picked on. They said when having racist jokes targeted at them they “feel as if you have to laugh it off”-they feel as if they might lose friends if they don’t just sit and take it, when asked whether they’d prefer to stop the hateful comments or lose a friendship Romir P replied that it was much worse” losing a friendship” because they feared being lonely or being ridiculed by the year.  However when a white pupil was asked whether they would report abuse and potentially lose a friend or let it happen, they stated that they would definitely stop the hate. Therefore we asked whether the kids were taught to suck racism up rather than cause drama shockingly the students said they wouldn’t want to confront teachers or the actual student!

So we wanted to get their view on how they would combat racism, being victims of the hate themselves. Dhilan D answered ” It should be zero tolerance for all years” and Romir said that if it wasn’t, “people will carry it (racism) onto later life”. We also asked whether parents are doing enough to educate their kids, and was it also their responsibility if their child decides to spread hate. Romir responded “The parents should definitely do more” and that although a parent can’t be in school to stop their child from committing an act of bullying, if only they taught the child from a young age perhaps the children wouldn’t want to be racist! 

In summary, as a society there is a lot more we could do to stop racism, and schools and parents have a huge part to play in the battle against discrimination.

By Theo T and Ollie S

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